Radioactive! The Amazing World of Nuclear Radiation (Summer)

What is radioactivity and is it safe? In this fact-packed course, you will learn about the physical causes and types of radioactivity, its detection, its history, its environmental and health effects, its dangers and benefits, and its uses in industry, medicine, consumer products, power generation, and weapons.

Week 1A: Defining Radioactivity | A Brief History | Nuclear vs. Chemical Reactions | Isotopes | Half-Life

Week 1B: Alpha, Beta, Gamma Penetration | Properties of Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Neutron Radiation

Week 2A: Nature and Cause of Radioactivity | Decay Chains

Week 2B: Radioactive Minerals and Detection | Radioactive Consumer Products

Week 3A: Health Physics and Ionizing Radiation | Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation

Week 3B: Time, Distance, Shielding | "The Radioactive Boy Scout" | Radium History

Week 4A: Fission and Fusion | Criticality

Week 4B: Nuclear Weapons

The learning process includes live, laboratory demonstrations, interactive notes (with plenty of color illustrations), short videos, handouts, and articles (students are expected to print these out, preferably in color since some material uses color coding). The homework consists of several videos and a Half-Life experiment you will perform with M&M's or Skittles.

Students taking this class for credit will be required to take two tests.  There is no test requirement if you are taking the class for enrichment.

Prerequisites:A basic knowledge of the parts of the atom (proton, neutron, electron) and the Periodic Table (atomic number, atomic mass).  A basic understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum and chemistry is a plus, but not required. 
Instructor: William DiPuccio, Ph.D.
 Age Level: 13 years - adult
Tuition: $100
Minimum Enrollment: 6
Maximum Enrollment: 15

Class Meets--

Session 1: Tuesdays, 8:00 - 10:00 AM Pacific,  May 11 - June 1

Session 2: Tuesdays, 8:00 - 10:00 AM Pacific, June 8 - June 29

Textbooks and Materials:

Preprinted class notes and handouts provided by the instructor.

William DiPuccio, Ph.D.

william-dipuccio-clrcBill DiPuccio  recently served as an instructor in Physical and Earth Science at Heritage Classical Academy near Akron, Ohio. He has been teaching science since 2002 including a position as science instructor and department head for five years at St. Nicholas Orthodox School, a classical school in Akron, OH. He has designed and taught laboratory courses in biology, earth science, astronomy, chemistry, and physics for elementary school, middle school, and high school. Bill has also, trained elementary school teachers, and taught numerous summer and weekend science camps.

Bill has a Ph.D. in historical theology and a professional background in meteorology, engineering (ultrasonic and electromagnetic polymer joining processes, automation) and graphic design. His academic interests and publications can be found on his blog,